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(The Atlantic)   If you're looking for alien life, forget radio waves. You should be looking for Dyson Spheres. They're relatively easy to spot, difficult to hide, and every advanced civilization likely needs to have one   (theatlantic.com) divider line 150
    More: Interesting, radio waves, Dyson sphere, aliens, industrial revolution, infrared telescope, cosmic microwave background, radio signals, sky survey  
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8860 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Oct 2012 at 10:54 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-05 07:11:37 AM  
I thought the article would suck, because it was set in the vacuum of space.
 
2012-10-05 07:32:59 AM  
Shoot. I was just reading (or listening to podcast) about this. Tyson? Plait? Dammit. I can't remember and now I have nothing at all to contribute to the thread. Something about not being able to detect them (the spheres)...more energy required to build them than available...if they absorbed the energy would they still radiate...this is my frowny face and I'm going to to quit typing. I hate when my brain doesn't work right.
 
2012-10-05 07:54:00 AM  

Spad31: Shoot. I was just reading (or listening to podcast) about this. Tyson? Plait? Dammit. I can't remember and now I have nothing at all to contribute to the thread. Something about not being able to detect them (the spheres)...more energy required to build them than available...if they absorbed the energy would they still radiate...this is my frowny face and I'm going to to quit typing. I hate when my brain doesn't work right.


Dude. You should look into this thing called coffee. It might help.
 
2012-10-05 08:36:33 AM  
It's worse than that. The aliens are here, living among us.

emfrei.files.wordpress.com
 
Pud
2012-10-05 08:48:00 AM  

edmo: It's worse than that. The aliens are here, living among us.

[emfrei.files.wordpress.com image 850x850]


And they're sucking the energy directly out of your electrical outlets.


/But then again, maybe I just need to take Vodka Zombie's advice and check out this thing he calls "coffee".
 
2012-10-05 09:32:59 AM  
There was an unusual postdoc listing in the astronomers' job register (yep we have one) that I just saw a few hours ago that included work on a "revolutionary SETI project." An odd enough listing that I remembered the guy's name, and it's the very same one.

Must've been a nice grant, I wish them well.
 
2012-10-05 10:40:50 AM  

Pud: And they're sucking the energy directly out of your electrical outlets.


At least they're using the proper amount of suction.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-10-05 10:56:38 AM  

Spad31: Shoot. I was just reading (or listening to podcast) about this. Tyson? Plait? Dammit. I can't remember and now I have nothing at all to contribute to the thread. Something about not being able to detect them (the spheres)...more energy required to build them than available...if they absorbed the energy would they still radiate...this is my frowny face and I'm going to to quit typing. I hate when my brain doesn't work right.


They would have to radiate as much energy as the sun they enclose, and they would need a lot of scrith.
 
2012-10-05 10:57:24 AM  
Andromeda
There was an unusual postdoc listing in the astronomers' job register (yep we have one)

Two pages in a three-ring binder?

/feels your pain
 
2012-10-05 11:03:35 AM  
How do we know some of these planets we detect by measuring the dimming of far away stars aren't giant solar panels built by alien civilizations passing in front of the star?
 
2012-10-05 11:04:32 AM  
Aren't dyson spheres unstable? The net effect of gravity from what they enclose is 0? So they eventually drift until the sun contacts the interior surface of the sphere, unless you spin it greatly and make micro adjustments.
 
2012-10-05 11:05:27 AM  
FTA Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible

Actually, I ran the numbers on this quite some time ago, (I am writing a book that has this as a plot point) and it doesn't.

First, our sun is a horrible candidate for a Dyson Sphere - the Goldilocks zone is to far out. I manageable size (sic) requires a red dwarf.

Second, building a 20 meter thick shell at Earth's orbit would require the mass of over 5,000 earths - way more than the total non-solar mass of the solar system.

Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

The study is a stupid waste of money
 
2012-10-05 11:06:26 AM  
We don't need a dyson sphere. We just need to pull our collective heads out of our asses and get organized. There is a retarded amount of energy/resources wasted to inefficiency. For example, if we focused on better insulating homes, swapping to more efficient light bulbs, and got energy generation less centralized we'd save a HUGE amount of electricity. And that's just electricity.

Ideally, you could design little self sufficient communities. Small centralized nuclear power plant or something akin to a bloom box, plus solar panels on every roof. A community farm/garden for food would save a LOT on global transportation costs. Making most things within easy walking/biking distance would not only save fuel, it would save on the cost of manufacturing and shipping cars...

I mean, these are just some spitball ideas off the top of my head. It would take redonkulous effort on a global scale to make it happen. But then, we're holding this idea up against the idea of building a dyson sphere/ring/net/whatever.

The idea that an advanced civilization would need massive amounts of energy is just silly. I'd say they'd be much more likely to have sufficiently more efficient technology/methodologies.
 
2012-10-05 11:11:28 AM  
The article, and frankly Dyson himself, are assuming that an advanced civilization is still dependent on solar energy. If we've already learned to draw energy from splitting the atom, more advanced civilizations could be drawing far more energy from gravity or dark matter or even some force we don't know exists.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-10-05 11:12:36 AM  

madgonad: FTA Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible

Actually, I ran the numbers on this quite some time ago, (I am writing a book that has this as a plot point) and it doesn't.

First, our sun is a horrible candidate for a Dyson Sphere - the Goldilocks zone is to far out. I manageable size (sic) requires a red dwarf.

Second, building a 20 meter thick shell at Earth's orbit would require the mass of over 5,000 earths - way more than the total non-solar mass of the solar system.

Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

The study is a stupid waste of money


It is nice that we have an expert in distant future technology to tell us how stupid actual scientists are.
 
2012-10-05 11:13:51 AM  

madgonad: Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.


... you're not supposed to live on the shell. It's a bunch of solar collectors. You live somewhere else and utilize the power.
 
2012-10-05 11:15:22 AM  
Or one of these

www.larryniven.net


Damned difficult to defend from what I read though.
 
2012-10-05 11:16:38 AM  

Honest Bender: We don't need a dyson sphere. We just need to pull our collective heads out of our asses and get organized. There is a retarded amount of energy/resources wasted to inefficiency. For example, if we focused on better insulating homes, swapping to more efficient light bulbs, and got energy generation less centralized we'd save a HUGE amount of electricity. And that's just electricity.

Ideally, you could design little self sufficient communities. Small centralized nuclear power plant or something akin to a bloom box, plus solar panels on every roof. A community farm/garden for food would save a LOT on global transportation costs. Making most things within easy walking/biking distance would not only save fuel, it would save on the cost of manufacturing and shipping cars...

I mean, these are just some spitball ideas off the top of my head. It would take redonkulous effort on a global scale to make it happen. But then, we're holding this idea up against the idea of building a dyson sphere/ring/net/whatever.

The idea that an advanced civilization would need massive amounts of energy is just silly. I'd say they'd be much more likely to have sufficiently more efficient technology/methodologies.


...Dyson Spheres aren't for civilizations that don't use very much power like ours. They're for civilizations that actually need a significant amount of energy. On the scale that a Dyson sphere becomes necessary the changes you suggest are like trimming your fingernails to lose weight.
 
2012-10-05 11:17:14 AM  

vpb: They would have to radiate as much energy as the sun they enclose


Yes, but not in a uniform direction, nor all at once.
 
2012-10-05 11:24:02 AM  

Theaetetus: madgonad: Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

... you're not supposed to live on the shell. It's a bunch of solar collectors. You live somewhere else and utilize the power.


I was contradicting their statement in the article that "there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere". There isn't.

I also disagree with their supposition of 'waste heat' in the IR range. Just because our solar cells are terribly inefficient doesn't mean they will always be that way. Hell, we have technology right now (Stirling engines) that can tap into waste heat. Imagine what we would develop in a couple hundred years?
 
2012-10-05 11:24:17 AM  
I was talking with a friend about the Dysonsphere seen in that one episode of Star Trek: TNG. I said that while it would be cool to have that much farking land to live on, it would be so incredible hot because without a night side, the Dysonsphere interior would just continually bake. That should have been why it was abandoned and not the bit about he unstable star.
 
2012-10-05 11:25:03 AM  

Pud: edmo: It's worse than that. The aliens are here, living among us.

[emfrei.files.wordpress.com image 850x850]

And they're sucking the energy directly out of your electrical outlets.


/But then again, maybe I just need to take Vodka Zombie's advice and check out this thing he calls "coffee".


A friend's mom thought that all outlets had to have a plug in them or all of the electricity would leak out.
 
2012-10-05 11:25:27 AM  
If you're looking for alien life, forget radio waves. You should be looking for Dyson Spheres. They're relatively easy to spot, difficult to hide, and every advanced civilization likely needs to have one

And yet, Picard & co. didn't realize they were right next to one until the camera shook and pitched over, causing the bridge crew to simultaneously stumble, and the scanners went all wonky.
 
2012-10-05 11:25:56 AM  

madgonad: FTA Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible

Actually, I ran the numbers on this quite some time ago, (I am writing a book that has this as a plot point) and it doesn't.

First, our sun is a horrible candidate for a Dyson Sphere - the Goldilocks zone is to far out. I manageable size (sic) requires a red dwarf.

Second, building a 20 meter thick shell at Earth's orbit would require the mass of over 5,000 earths - way more than the total non-solar mass of the solar system.

Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

The study is a stupid waste of money


Why would you need/want to create a Dyson sphere that far out? You'd put it as close to the sun as possible.
 
2012-10-05 11:27:08 AM  

madgonad: FTA Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible

Actually, I ran the numbers on this quite some time ago, (I am writing a book that has this as a plot point) and it doesn't.

First, our sun is a horrible candidate for a Dyson Sphere - the Goldilocks zone is to far out. I manageable size (sic) requires a red dwarf.

Second, building a 20 meter thick shell at Earth's orbit would require the mass of over 5,000 earths - way more than the total non-solar mass of the solar system.

Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

The study is a stupid waste of money


I think you're thinking a ring world or a full shell there people live on the surface. What they're talking about is just a series of solar panels orbiting the star and then transmitting the energy to another source.

NASA already has a couple probes orbiting the sun now basically doing this already, Just very inefficient solar collectors and only to provide power to the probe.

Although I am of the opinion any Type 2 civilizations probably only use this method as secondary power for stable worlds that orbit that same star (maybe for manufacturing worlds or starship construction yards) and rely on fusion or other advanced power systems for ships, stations, bases, etc.
 
2012-10-05 11:27:20 AM  
HOA restrictions on renewable resource collection should be removed (wind, solar) and any price barriers in delivering the power generating product to the market should be removed as well.


/got solar
//getting wind
 
2012-10-05 11:32:41 AM  

madgonad: FTA Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible

Actually, I ran the numbers on this quite some time ago, (I am writing a book that has this as a plot point) and it doesn't.

First, our sun is a horrible candidate for a Dyson Sphere - the Goldilocks zone is to far out. I manageable size (sic) requires a red dwarf.

Second, building a 20 meter thick shell at Earth's orbit would require the mass of over 5,000 earths - way more than the total non-solar mass of the solar system.

Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

The study is a stupid waste of money


This is why the Dyson Sphere concept was refined into the Dyson Swarm: rather than a single solid mass, you'd have a large number of satellites orbiting the star, collecting power from it, and beaming it back to Earth (or wherever the home planet is). This isn't as efficient as a solid sphere -you need a solid sphere to truly trap 100% of the star's energy- but it's much closer to being practical.
 
2012-10-05 11:33:12 AM  

karl2025: Why would you need/want to create a Dyson sphere that far out? You'd put it as close to the sun as possible.


For some reason, he was assuming you'd live on the sucker, so it needed to be in a habitable zone (which disregards the constant sun, of course.
 
2012-10-05 11:37:19 AM  

madgonad: Theaetetus: madgonad: Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

... you're not supposed to live on the shell. It's a bunch of solar collectors. You live somewhere else and utilize the power.

I was contradicting their statement in the article that "there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere". There isn't.

I also disagree with their supposition of 'waste heat' in the IR range. Just because our solar cells are terribly inefficient doesn't mean they will always be that way. Hell, we have technology right now (Stirling engines) that can tap into waste heat. Imagine what we would develop in a couple hundred years?


Are you saying they wouldn't have waste heat or that they would radiate it in a different wavelength range?
 
2012-10-05 11:39:08 AM  
You can look for Dyson spheres. I'm busy watching for von Neumman machines.
 
2012-10-05 11:40:05 AM  

madgonad: FTA Even though there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere, such a structure would not be mechanically feasible

Actually, I ran the numbers on this quite some time ago, (I am writing a book that has this as a plot point) and it doesn't.

First, our sun is a horrible candidate for a Dyson Sphere - the Goldilocks zone is to far out. I manageable size (sic) requires a red dwarf.

Second, building a 20 meter thick shell at Earth's orbit would require the mass of over 5,000 earths - way more than the total non-solar mass of the solar system.

Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

The study is a stupid waste of money


Came here to whinge along the same lines. That's what Ringworld tried to address by proposing a much smaller surface area. At least one could pretend that it might be possible to gather enough material to build a ring. Ignoring the amount of energy that would be required to gather the material, process it, assemble it, etc.
 
2012-10-05 11:40:57 AM  

Theaetetus: karl2025: Why would you need/want to create a Dyson sphere that far out? You'd put it as close to the sun as possible.

For some reason, he was assuming you'd live on the sucker, so it needed to be in a habitable zone (which disregards the constant sun, of course.


The habitable zone would only be relevant if you were going to live on the inner surface though. And you can't do that since the inside of a hollow sphere is naturally 0G. If you lived on the outside of the sphere it'd be irrelevant since you wouldn't see the sun.
 
2012-10-05 11:43:28 AM  

karl2025: Theaetetus: karl2025: Why would you need/want to create a Dyson sphere that far out? You'd put it as close to the sun as possible.

For some reason, he was assuming you'd live on the sucker, so it needed to be in a habitable zone (which disregards the constant sun, of course.

The habitable zone would only be relevant if you were going to live on the inner surface though. And you can't do that since the inside of a hollow sphere is naturally 0G. If you lived on the outside of the sphere it'd be irrelevant since you wouldn't see the sun.


Exactly. His statement of "I ran the numbers on this" is somewhat suspect.
 
2012-10-05 11:43:45 AM  
I, for one, salute anyone visionary enough to actually seriously contemplate mankind -- or any race -- actually undertaking a project like this. My mind actually boggles... I didn't really know what boggling felt like, until I tried to wrap my head around the sheer enormity of the project.
 
2012-10-05 11:43:53 AM  

karl2025: Why would you need/want to create a Dyson sphere that far out? You'd put it as close to the sun as possible.


Need to balance out the pressure of the solar winds and flares, otherwise you'd have a blowout. But if you're building out of neutronium you could gift wrap a star and poke a hole in one end and have a star sized fusion jet engine.
 
2012-10-05 11:44:59 AM  

karl2025: Why would you need/want to create a Dyson sphere that far out? You'd put it as close to the sun as possible.


An inhabited Dyson Shell would need to be in the Goldilocks zone or everybody would fry or freeze.

Millennium: This is why the Dyson Sphere concept was refined into the Dyson Swarm: rather than a single solid mass, you'd have a large number of satellites orbiting the star, collecting power from it, and beaming it back to Earth (or wherever the home planet is). This isn't as efficient as a solid sphere -you need a solid sphere to truly trap 100% of the star's energy- but it's much closer to being practical.


I know, which is why I disagreed with the writer's assertion that the mass exists to make a SHELL. At what point does co-orbiting solar stations (Dyson Swarm) really become 'Dysony'? How many billion square miles of energy collectors have to be deployed to fit that target?

KellyX: I think you're thinking a ring world or a full shell there people live on the surface. What they're talking about is just a series of solar panels orbiting the star and then transmitting the energy to another source.


Yes, they said a shell is possible, but that the panel-only solution would be used. They are inaccurate on both accounts. First, the shell is not possible. Second, they seem to think that a civilization that could build these things would waste all of that IR. Hell, with superconductivity there wouldn't even be waste in transmission.
 
2012-10-05 11:51:15 AM  

madgonad: karl2025: Why would you need/want to create a Dyson sphere that far out? You'd put it as close to the sun as possible.

An inhabited Dyson Shell would need to be in the Goldilocks zone or everybody would fry or freeze.


Are you assuming you'd be living on the inner surface of the sphere? Because that's not possible since there would be no gravity.

Link
 
2012-10-05 11:51:58 AM  

madgonad:
KellyX: I think you're thinking a ring world or a full shell there people live on the surface. What they're talking about is just a series of solar panels orbiting the star and then transmitting the energy to another source.

Yes, they said a shell is possible, but that the panel-only solution would be used. They are inaccurate on both accounts. First, the shell is not possible. Second, they seem to think that a civilization that could build these things would waste all of that IR. Hell, with superconductivity there wouldn't even be waste in transmission.


Well, I guess that's debatable depending the technology level of said civilization.

Bottom line for me is I applaud the search, I think even if it finds nothing, it was worth trying and hope it spurs science to consider other methods as well in the search for life outside this world, specifically for advanced ET civilizations.
 
2012-10-05 11:54:24 AM  
It's all fun and games until the sun decides to go nova.
 
2012-10-05 11:54:28 AM  
Larry Niven wrote of the Dyson Sphere this in Ringworld. Fun Sci-Fi book for the curious. He did speak of why a ring is much more practical than a Dyson Sphere, including the mass needed to build, regulation of day/night cycle, gravity, defense, and transportation to and fro. Since this is not my bailiwick, I cannot comment on the efficacy of either idea. A good read, though.
 
2012-10-05 11:57:39 AM  

hawcian: Are you saying they wouldn't have waste heat or that they would radiate it in a different wavelength range?


I am saying that when working on this scale the 'wastes' would be tapped into and utilized, and the wastes from those processes would be tapped into and utilized as well. Not sure if 100% efficiency is possible, but assuming 2012 human solar cell efficiency as an expected IR source is just not thinking.

If you are really looking for a Dyson Swarm, look for unexplained drops in solar output as the panels move between that star and Earth.

Also, for what is is worth, a real Dyson Shell is actually not too impractical around our neighbor Proxima Centauri. We would just need the mass of Venus, Mars, and Mercury to build a 10 meter thick shell at the Goldilocks zone around Proxima. It has the added benefit of being around a star that will burn for tens if not hundreds of billions of years - far longer than our sun. Who knows, maybe there are raw materials just sitting in orbit around Proxima just waiting to be assembled. Just send the von Neumann robots out to it in a hundred years and send humans out a couple hundred years later to take ownership.
 
2012-10-05 11:58:04 AM  

hawcian: madgonad: Theaetetus: madgonad: Third, making a millimeter thin shell would require almost the entire mass of Venus, but nobody could live 'on it'.

... you're not supposed to live on the shell. It's a bunch of solar collectors. You live somewhere else and utilize the power.

I was contradicting their statement in the article that "there is enough mass in our solar system to construct a solid sphere". There isn't.

I also disagree with their supposition of 'waste heat' in the IR range. Just because our solar cells are terribly inefficient doesn't mean they will always be that way. Hell, we have technology right now (Stirling engines) that can tap into waste heat. Imagine what we would develop in a couple hundred years?

Are you saying they wouldn't have waste heat or that they would radiate it in a different wavelength range?


I think what he's saying is that the assumption is that there would be significant waste heat, a civilization that could build a dyson sphere may be advanced enough to capture enough energy so that it wouldn't be glowing in IR. It's kind of like detecting a car by listening for it, well that worked in the past and right now for most cars. However electric cars are much quieter and as technology progresses they may become even more quiet.

Similar to the hunt for planets why not look for something else blocking light. A dyson sphere would most likely be too uniform but a ring wouldn't be figuring the ring would sometimes block light and other times not (similar to how saturns rings become nearly invisible edge on). If a star was dimming like something was in rotation but not wobbling based on the gravity of an object that may indicate a dyson like structure.
 
2012-10-05 11:58:17 AM  
I don't understand why they wonder where are the Dyson Spheres. Look what it takes to build one. Hell, look what it takes just for life to be here. Let's break this down: Start with the big 4 ingredients: Hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon.

Hydrogen is everywhere. But stars need to get old (takes billions of years), fuse hydrogen and helium into heavy elements (takes hundreds of millions of years), explode (takes millions of years), eject carbon and iron which will create planets (takes hundreds of millions of years) which will bear life (takes billions of years), which then evolves into intelligent and then interstellar life which builds Dyson Spheres/Swarms (hundreds of millions more years) So do the math. Life needs second and third generation systems to come about, so it doesn't bode well for intelligent/interstellar life coming about any time earlier than now. The early Universe was too hot and the early Stellar Era had not enough ingredients.

The good news is the Milky Way is an old galaxy with lots of second and third generation stars (an estimated 80% of them are dwarfs), so that increases the odds immensely. But a lot of really specific conditions have to happen for life to get going, and its not an overnight process.

Life might actually be easy. Life has been on Earth for 3.8 billion years. But it's been microscopic, single-celled life for most of its existence. It's the complex, intelligent life that's rare (and I mean that in terms of timescale, not in terms of odds. Since we are here, the odds of it happening are really 1).

Now, without a standard of comparison, it's hard to say whether Earth is typical or unusual insofar as producing life is concerned. Life might arise faster on other worlds, or not at all despite having all the right ingredients. Let's just assume Earth is average. And that, on average, life needs 4 billion years to evolve into something meaningful. If we are considered par for the evolution of space-faring species, then it simply would not have been possible for interstellar aliens to have been around before us since THEY would have needed 4 billion years to get up and running and that's too early in the Universe's history (not that it would be impossible, just that the odds are extremely remote). And then to evolve to the point where they build Dyson Spheres/Swarms..... that's looking at millions of years of civilized development, providing they don't annihilate themselves in the process.

In other words: Even if intelligent, interstellar life in the Universe is common, we might actually be the first. That makes us trailblazers.

The Fermi paradox suggests that intelligent life in the Universe has such a short interstellar window that it goes extinct before it finds anyone else. Any advanced interstellar civilization that peaks and declines - possibly in a drastic way - in the order of thousands of years would still appear as a mere blip-flash event to the cosmos at large; a flare-up of radiometry and extra-solar traffic rendered too short, too small, and too insignificant by the vastness of space to be detectable by anyone. A space-faring species would need to be around for tens of millions of years and build tons of Dyson solar plants before anything else might detect it. The one thing the Fermi paradox might be suggesting isn't that there is no life out there but rather that traveling and/or communicating through space is very, very hard.

So never say never. Just recognize that the odds are very, very depressing.
 
2012-10-05 12:01:00 PM  
A Dyson Sphere has already been found. And it didn't work out that well.

i158.photobucket.com">
 
2012-10-05 12:02:47 PM  

KellyX: Bottom line for me is I applaud the search, I think even if it finds nothing, it was worth trying and hope it spurs science to consider other methods as well in the search for life outside this world, specifically for advanced ET civilizations.


I find myself in the Stephen Hawking camp on this one. Not sure if it is a good idea to advertise our presence in the galaxy. Judging by our own global history of exploration and expansion - things don't turn out so well for the less advanced culture. Even if we are just looking/listening now - if the discovery is made you just know that some group of scientists, governmental agency, or religious dingbats are going to invite E.T. to a barbecue - forgetting that Long Pig might be on the menu.
 
2012-10-05 12:10:12 PM  
Think about how quickly our our communications have become localized and low power. There is only a tiny window to detect high-power broadcasts during the development of technological society unless the broadcasters make a conscious effort to continue such broadcasts. It stands to reason that aliens employing the same technologies as us will face the same challenges in developing and utilizing those technologies.
 
2012-10-05 12:11:34 PM  
Yeah, the premise of this article is silly.

The unknown numbers of way for an advanced civilization to come up with energy, including but (of course) not restricted to cold fusion, pulling energy from other dimensions/realities, harnessing the destructive force of a singularity, or *shock* being so advanced or different in form from us as to not actually require all that much energy to begin with!

The fact that we could take what is not only a ridiculous concept born as the ultimate step science would develop should it adhere to unrealistic, self destructive and inefficient engineering methodology and use it as a basis for what we should spend our very valuable resources looking for in space is just asinine.

And why the fark would you try to encompass an entire solar system? Or even just out to a goldilocks zone and live on the inside? Retarded. It would seem more logical to find yourself a gas giant and collapse it into itself and build your sphere around that one object. Or just encompass the star you have and make do with your super more-than-solar-efficient false light and heat sources?

So so so many things wrong with the idea. The Penn State astronomer team that thought this crap up are either just looking for attention or need to be laughed out of the field entirely.
 
2012-10-05 12:13:56 PM  

Ishkur: So never say never. Just recognize that the odds are very, very depressing.


Why is it depressing? Does the universe really need a persistent Foundation or Federation? I am completely comfortable living in our little sandbox, safely separated from just about everything. As long as our civilization continues to add to our technology, advance our culture, and not destroy outselves / go into resource decline - we should be fine. I think the Fermi Paradox is comforting - who wants to go through all of the conflicts on earth on an interstellar stage? Sure, Captain Kirk was cool, but conflict on that scale is likely to be near genocide shortly after hostilities began.

And yes, I don't think that there are really odds of life evolving. More like 'how long until' instead of 'if'.The vastness of space and limits to velocity serve to keep what civilizations do evolve sequestered from one another.
 
2012-10-05 12:16:13 PM  

Esc7: Aren't dyson spheres unstable? The net effect of gravity from what they enclose is 0? So they eventually drift until the sun contacts the interior surface of the sphere, unless you spin it greatly and make micro adjustments.


Yes, as article says, no one thinks an actual Sphere would be doable. Its very likely that a civilization will setup swarms of solar collectors around the sun. Likely in generally spherical orbit at some optimum distance away from their sun.
 
2012-10-05 12:17:29 PM  

vpb: Spad31: Shoot. I was just reading (or listening to podcast) about this. Tyson? Plait? Dammit. I can't remember and now I have nothing at all to contribute to the thread. Something about not being able to detect them (the spheres)...more energy required to build them than available...if they absorbed the energy would they still radiate...this is my frowny face and I'm going to to quit typing. I hate when my brain doesn't work right.

They would have to radiate as much energy as the sun they enclose, and they would need a lot of scrith.


Damn. I left my cziltang brone in my other pants.
 
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